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My Depressed Boyfriend, Partner is Pushing Me Away: Try This

Is your boyfriend depressed and pushing you away? If so, you may feel frustrated and confused. Here’s what to do instead of freaking out.

Having a boyfriend who is depressed and pushing you away can be hard on your self-esteem. Even though deep down you know your partner's illness is not your fault, it's difficult not to wonder if it's you or them when someone doesn't want your help – especially when that person is someone you love. If you find yourself in this predicament, you're probably wondering what to do. Should you let him withdraw from you and assume that's what he needs, or should you try to help, despite his protestations? Having a boyfriend who is depressed and pushing you away is no walk in the park, but there are some ways to make it easier on yourself.

Help! My Boyfriend Is Depressed and Pushing Me Away

If you’ve never been depressed, you might not know why your boyfriend is pushing you away. You may not understand his emotional struggles, and you might even worry that you’re somehow to blame.

Here’s the thing about depression: it is no one’s fault. It’s also no one’s job to make it better unless that person is a medical professional. If your boyfriend's behavior is getting you down, however, you may wonder whether you should even stay in the relationship. First, you need to understand why your boyfriend is pushing you away so that you can take the right course of action.

According to UK depression charity, Blurt, these are the main reasons why depressed people push others away:

  • Lack of energy: Fatigue and lack of energy are symptomatic of depression, and some people find spending time with others too draining. This is not necessarily a reflection on your relationship; your boyfriend may just need a bit more time alone.
  • Poor concentration: Depression can cause concentration levels to dip, leaving many people unable to follow a conversation.  
  • Low tolerance: Depression doesn't just make people sad; it can also affect their tolerance levels and make them more irritable. During severe episodes of depression, some people need complete silence and tranquillity to heal.
  • Feeling worthless: People with depression often isolate themselves from others because they don't feel valued. Your boyfriend might be pushing you away for fear of disappointing you or making you unhappy. The only way through this is to be honest with him about how you feel without attributing blame.  
  • Fear of getting hurt: Sometimes, depression is so difficult to deal with anything else feels too scary. Your boyfriend may be pushing you away out of fear of rejection or abandonment.

The bottom line is this: depression is hard, and many people push others away because they find it easier to be alone.

What to Do If Your Depressed Partner Is Pushing You Away

When you have a cold or you’re sick, do you feel like socializing with others? Most likely, you prefer to spend time alone or in quiet companionship with someone you love, sleeping, reading or watching feel-good movies while you recover. Depression is no different, and the key to helping your boyfriend through this without letting him push you away is to figure out what he needs you to do differently.

Perhaps he needs someone to deliver a meal, or maybe he'd prefer to spend time with you without the expectation of a conversation or the need for entertainment. Perhaps he needs you to be there without trying to help him. Maybe he wants you to stop asking him how he's feeling, or maybe he wishes you would ask more questions. Don't assume anything – ask him to be honest with you and tell him you'll try your best to give him what he needs.

Depression is never a choice, so it must be treated with care and compassion. Chances are, your depressed boyfriend doesn't really want to push you away, he just doesn't know how to ask for what he needs from you.

See Also:

What to Say to a Depressed Boyfriend, Girlfriend

Loving Someone with Depression Comes with Challenges

article references

APA Reference
Smith, E. (2019, April 26). My Depressed Boyfriend, Partner is Pushing Me Away: Try This, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 15 from https://www.healthyplace.com/depression/relationships/my-depressed-boyfriend-partner-is-pushing-me-away-try-this

Last Updated: May 17, 2019

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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